Peralta Community College District plan to buy Oakland's Kaiser Convention Center now facing opposition
San Jose Mercury News
November 11, 2010
Peralta Community College District leaders are running into significant opposition to their attempts to buy Oakland's historic, but decrepit, Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.
The Oakland-based college district is considering whether it could afford both the purchase price, which could top $10 million, as well as the $5 million to $8 million in basic repairs needed to make the 95-year-old building usable. The building -- on 10th Street, just across from Laney College -- also would require millions of dollars more in upgrades to make it safe in an earthquake, likely boosting the total cost to $20 million or more.
"We've got to have a pretty solid plan before we go forward spending that kind of money," said Wise Allen, the district's interim chancellor.
The city-owned Kaiser building, which hosted concerts by Elvis Presley, the Grateful Dead and other headliners in its better days, has been closed for nearly five years. Several proposals to reopen the hall have fallen through in the past few years, including making the lakeside building the city's new main library, selling it to concert promoter Live Nation and creating an international-trade exhibition hall.